By Mary Foley
Do you ever feel like Wonder Woman? I'm not talking the Linda Carter or cartoon character kind
I'm talking about today's Wonder Woman - the woman who has so much going on she wonders what the heck happened to her life! Between all the roles we play as women - wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, taxi driver, counselor, teacher, nurse, social director, event planner, buyer, accountant, volunteer, pet care provider, gardener, maid, cook, lover, cereal-embedded-in-the-car seat detector, and more - it's no wonder most of us feel stressed and about to lose it. And yet we can't lose it because we're often the glue that holds marriages, families, work groups, and communities together.
So, how do you keep your red cape flying? First, you've got to go from being a Wonder Woman to a Bodacious Woman - a woman who isn't trying to do or be everything or everybody, but who has the courage to be in charge of her own life and lovin' it!
As a Bodacious Woman you can still wear a red cape and feel like a superhero. Here are five fun tips to keep your red cape flying!
Tip #1: Do What Super Models Do - Get a Fan!
Sometimes conditions aren't cooperative and you have to create your own breeze to keep your red cape flying. Super models do it at photo shoots, why not you? We all know that necessity is the mother of invention - and re-invention. So, when Plan A for your day doesn't work, be flexible to devise a Plan B, C, D or however many plans it takes! Be creative, keep at it, and use your fan as necessary.
Tip #2: Always Be on the Lookout for a Breeze
That's breeze, not fabreeze, just to be clear! Superheroes are usually tackling hard stuff that mortal humans often can't - like holding up falling buildings, stopping bullets with their palms, rescuing a child from raging waters, stuff like that. It's as if they LOOK for difficulty! Though that's admirable, there's no shame in looking for ways to make your day easier, not harder. Like accepting another mom's offer to pick up your child, delegating a project task to a new team member, or rescheduling a meeting that's suddenly a challenge to make. When you look for small opportunities to make your daily activity load a bit lighter, a bit breezier, your red cape flies with ease.
Tip #3: Avoid Hurricanes, Tornadoes, or Gale Force Winds
Sounds rational, but how often do you take on so much that you are creating your perfect storm? You know you have 24 hours in a day, but you say "yes" like you have 240! To keep your red cape flying, get in the habit of saying "no" - first to yourself and then to others. "No" to yet another volunteer project, "no" to the 29th cute top when you still haven't had a chance to wear the 28 ones you already have, and "no" to doing a task that clearly belongs to your co-worker. In fact, "no" is one of my top five empowering words for women of all time. It can be yours, too. And, if an outright "no" feels a bit harsh, try "not now", "let me get back to you" or my new fave "my red cape is at the cleaners." More about that below.
Tip #4: Fly with other Red-Caped Bodacious Women
I'm convinced that there is no way any superhero can truly be super without some super friends who are willing to fly with her. They are the wind beneath your red cape, so to speak. As if you need it, here's proof why. According to a landmark UCLA study on friendship among women, when women get together something magical happens. A hormone called oxytocin is released into our blood steam, which causes us to feel supported and safe. Our bodies begin to relax and our stress starts to melt away. No wonder we always feel lighter and better able to handle life's problems after connecting with girlfriends. To think all this time I thought it was the wine!
Tip #5: Sometimes Your Red Cape is at the Cleaners
You don't have to be a superhero all the time. Really, you don't. And it's good that you're not because the other people in your life need to do their part. But, if your red cape is never at the cleaners, they often don't chip in - or can't because you don't let them. Plus, a dirty, stained cape is a terrible look. No matter your age, your mamma would not be happy and you know it.
Image by Bodacious! Ventures
|By Mary Foley
Making New Year’s resolutions is easy. Keeping them is hard. More than 21 days hard.
In fact, the belief that it takes 21 days to create a new habit is a myth. “The 21 day myth may well come from a book published in 1960 by a plastic surgeon” says psychologist Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick .“Dr Maxwell Maltz noticed that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb and he argued that people take 21 days to adjust to any major life changes.” According to a new study, it takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit. If you’re going for “mastery”, then expect it to take 10,000 hours, which turns into 5 or more years, depending on how many of your 8,765 hours a year you have to devote to practicing. So, somewhere between 66 days and 10,000 hours and you’re good to go!
Bottom line: Creating new habits is going to take lots of time, which means if you really, really, really want to make them happen, then one of your best strategies may be quitting.
“Quit the wrong stuff, stick with the right stuff, and have the courage to do one or the other” states Seth Godin in his short, powerful tome The Dip: When to Quit and When to Stick. Quit the things that no longer work or do enough in your life. Maybe they used to, maybe at one time you were more interested and engaged. Now, it’s just a drag.
The book club that’s really a wine club and you don’t drink. The networking meeting that’s mainly small business owners and now you are working in a large corporation. The volunteer committee for a loved charitable organization, but the meetings no longer fit your schedule.
Let go. Quit. It’s not only okay, it’s good. Very good. For you and for everyone else touched by your involvement. Not only do you get the time back you need to put towards the new habit you want to create, everyone else is freed up to discover new ideas, new people and create what’s best for their lives right now, too.
Quitting definitely takes courage. More courage than creating New Year’s resolutions. Because it feels uncomfortable to change your own behavior and awkward to say no. I like Charlie Gilkey’s approach to quitting. He calls it “strategic withdrawal” which “recognizes that there are some obligations that we have that we really don’t want, but that it’s nonetheless important to see them through.” So, you see through your commitments without over-doing it, and then don’t renew. Now there’s a short-term plan you can endure.
By quitting what’s no longer working in your life and simply zapping your time, you open up space in your heart and head to focus on what you really care about, what you really have the passion to achieve, what you really love. Those are the resolutions worth sticking to, those are worth achieving, and those are worth not quitting.
By Mary Foley
Does the idea of New Year's resolutions and goals make you tired already? According to USA.gov these are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions year after year:
1. Drink Less Alcohol
2. Eat Healthy Food
3. Get a Better Education
4. Get a Better Job
5. Get Fit
6. Lose Weight
7. Manage Debt
8. Manage Stress
9. Quit Smoking
10. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Fun list, isn’t it? Steve Levinson, co-author of the book Following Through, says that “One in four resolutions bites the dust within a week. About half of them are gone within a month.”
Clearly something’s not working for us. The reason, according to Dr. Henry Cloud is that “most of them will be based on will power, commitment, or trying to make better choices.”
And that’s a setup for failure. “One of the main reasons New Year’s resolutions are so hard to change is that we come up against rock hard habits” says Psychologist Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick.
Fortunately, Dr. Cloud offers a big key to making your goals actually happen - “a new energy source.” Which got me to thinking. What if this year your New Year’s goals meant "Go Out And Love Something!" Might that change your motivation just a bit?
Consider what the top New Year’s goals might look like:
1. I love waking up without a headache, having more energy, and being more productive! I’m not going to drink as often.
2. I love sustained energy throughout my day and who knew veggies could be so delish! I’m eating healthier food at home and when I eat out.
3. I love having options in the workplace so I’m gonna learn at least one new skill this year that I find interesting or valuable.
4. I love having a job and I’d love it even more if I had an even better job, so I’m going to figure out what that next step is to get it.
5. I love being able to walk up stairs without huffing and puffing and I love being able to move my body as I want it to go, so I’m going to start taking time for my body to get more fit.
6. I love when I can fit into my skinny jeans, even if skinny isn’t as skinny as it used to be. I’m not going to lose weight, I’m going to gain a wardrobe!
7. I love knowing that I can pay my bills and I don’t have to worry who is calling on the phone, so I’m going to get some help to figure out how to get a grip on my debt.
8. I love feeling relaxed; it’s when I’m at my best for myself and others. So, I’m going to start doing two things to manage my stress throughout the day.
9. I love feeling strong, breathing easy and being able to play with my kids or grandkids so I’m going to seek out at least 3 people who stopped smoking and ask them how they did it.
10. I love taking the trash out less and finding new ways to use what comes in this house, so I’m going to figure out at least 2 simple ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Sounds a bit more energizing and manageable, doesn’t it? And it all starts with a simple “I love…”
Love is a powerful emotion that defies complete explanation, but one thing is for sure. When you feel it you believe things are possible that you once did not. You have more faith in yourself and in others to be better and make things happen. And your ability to rebound from setbacks is increased.
Whatever your New Year goals are this year, find a way to get out there and love them, nurture them along, and keep giving them one huge hug!